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Eco-Waterman challenge comes to town beach

July 13, 2011

NARRAGANSETT—As lifeguards come and go from the South Beach Pavilion onto the sun warmed sand and do their duty protecting the lives of beachgoers, a saying rests painted on the hallway’s concrete brick wall, ‘Narragansett Surf Rescue, A tradition of excellence.’ On July 16, the dedication which the Surf Rescue team at the town beach brings to the ocean’s waves daily will take another great step forward. The first annual Waterman Eco-Challenge is set to begin.

Narragansett Surf Rescue and the Parks and Recreation Department will offer participants the opportunity to learn first-hand about ocean safety and awareness. There will be fun, exciting water activities such as a three mile open ocean paddle and a stand-up paddle board clinic.
“We encourage anyone to come,” said Brian Guadagno, organizer of the event. “This is an entry-level race for all ages. There will be plenty of rescue people and lifeguards available.”

The Waterman Eco-Challenge will hold clinics that teach the public and also other lifeguards about lifesaving techniques. Interactive ocean safety and sun safety tents will be set up on the beach, and a professional rescue clinic will also be provided.

“The most important thing is to raise awareness, but we want to combine the excitement and education about the ocean into one event,” said Guadagno “The more people we can connect with, the more familiar and safer they become at the beach. It makes our job easier.”

“We would really like to thank the town and the Parks and Recreation Department for all their support with this event,” he added.

Guadagno, a 16 year lifeguard at Narragansett Beach, is joined by Garrett McNamara, Big Wave World Champion and ocean explorer. McNamara has traveled and surfed the world, and both he and Guadagno fully understand the focus and hard work required in making sure the public is safe every day at the beach.

“This is a demanding beach and there are a lot of people to watch. Lifesaving is a big issue,” said Garrett McNamara. “As surfers, we push the boundaries of what the body can endure. I like to try to help people and give them the tools they need to survive.”

“[Narragansett Surf Rescue] trains really hard and is a focused team,” said Guadagno. “We have a deeply rooted pride. Our mix of experience and youth allows us the ability to grow and progress. The ultimate goal is to make this beach as safe as possible.”

The Narragansett Surf Rescue team will also be unveiling a new, jet-powered rescue surf board. The technology, aptly named WaveJet, will be displayed for the first time at Narragansett Town Beach. The WaveJet surfboard is eco-friendly, but also will provide lifeguards the opportunity to reach victims in the water quicker and without using larger, more hazardous equipment such as a jet-ski.“You don’t want to use up all of your energy as you go out to get a victim,” said McNamara. “This technology is brand-new and it is the first time we get to integrate it with lifesaving. This is great to introduce it for the first time at Narragansett Beach.”

For more information pick up a copy of The Narragansett Times.

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